Corporate power is often discussed as a form of dominance or sovereignty, whereby corporate interests have superseded those of both the citizenry and the government. While there is a great deal of merit to this perspective, corporate sovereignty is at once far more complex and more fundamental to US political life than is normally acknowledged. There is a long history of legislative, political, and economic changes, from the passage of the 14th amendment to the decimation of unions in the 1980s, that have all fashioned the role of the corporation in US society. In this roundtable, scholars will discuss the emergent contexts of corporate power and how they fit, or do not fit, into this longer history. These contexts may include the rapid accumulation of powers and protections granted to corporations in recent Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, political economic developments including the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and movements like the Fight for $15, the integration of corporations into electoral politics and social movements, and the role of corporations in refashioning care relations in post-welfarism. Together, panelists will attempt to answer the question of what role corporations play in current US power relations.
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